We all love those stories of the hero who is suffering from amnesia and then “snaps out of it” to save the day. Or there is the orphan story where the child was actually born of a royal family and stolen as a child to discover his identity as royalty. Maybe you like the revelation stories like Superman where he thinks he is a “human” to find that he is more than a human. He discovers his “powers” and his “purpose” to help all of mankind. Do you have your favorite story? How about King Arthur and the Sword in the Stone? Here is a young boy who by chance ends up at the right place and the right time to discover he is actually the chosen one to rule all of England. He is put to the test and it isn’t even a test for him. He grabs the sword and pulls it out of the stone because of necessity. He is actually trying to help his Knight who is without his own sword. Come on, you know you like those stories, right?
The Bible is full of those stories. David is a good example of the Arthur story. There he is tending the sheep and is actually the one that isn’t even included in the potential-King selection process. Still God brings Samuel and David together in a seemingly fortuitous way. We know the bigger story and can see that God’s plan was actually at work. Even thought the characters get to choose and make all kinds of mistakes and don’t recognize what they have (like David’s dad), it all works out. Arthur finds Merlin. Samuel isn’t a wizard but he sure helped out David like Merlin did Arthur.
Don’t you love those “discovery” stories? We know something that the participants didn’t know and we see their eyes opened to the truth. Or sometimes we don’t know the “truth” either and we take the journey with the characters to find out what happens. Either style is fun and exciting. We love to see the heroes emerge to save them all. We love to see the royal prince find out he is a prince and all those who are mistreating him actually are his subjects. We get so excited when the frog turns into a prince because he was a prince all along. Did you know there is a reason we love those stories? JESUS.
It is a great mystery and it transcends time and space but it is true…We were in Christ before the world was born:
2 Tim 1:8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (ESV)
Eph 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him (ESV)
The whole family tree thing is really popular these days. Let me break yours down simply. You were born a _____ (insert your last name). Before that, way way back, you were an Adam. But before that, way way back, before Adam had a garden to walk in, you were a Jesus. I know it is hard to fathom but that is why we have His faith. God had a masterful plan that we get to participate in. Just like those fairytale heroes we “wake up” to who we really are.
Adam and his kids for generations upon generations were separate from God in their minds:
Col 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds (ESV)
In a similar way we are separate from God in our minds when we don’t believe in what Jesus accomplished. Look, before Jesus none of them had what we have. They were shadows of Jesus. They were “mere humans” that were not filled with the Holy Spirit. Humanity was like a seed planted in corruption that was awaiting regeneration in Jesus. Jesus was the perfect-man-concept from the beginning. Adam was a bridge to that perfect man. Are you beginning to see your origins? Now we are a different creation. We died on the cross (again a mystery):
Col 3:3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (ESV)
Now we are alive in Him. Our identity was actually never from Adam but was from Jesus from the beginning of time but realized in His life, death and resurrection. We were born again in Jesus. We were made new in Jesus. We were raised from the dead in Jesus. We were reconciled to God in Jesus. We were inserted into the trinity in Jesus. We are forever joined to the divine in Jesus. Many may not know it but it is true. Just like the orphan prince we wake up to our royalty. Just like Arthur we have the authority and ability to pull out the sword because we are joined to the One who is worthy.
Our old man is a lie. The Adamic identity is a lie. We are from Jesus and joined to Jesus. There has always been a challenge to our minds in our current state…believing what Jesus has accomplished.
Paul uses the story of Jacob and Esau in Romans ch 9 to reveal this truth about our perceived nature versus our true nature. Esau was a type of fallen Adam who trusted in a fallen nature. Jacob is a type of us who still doesn’t know who he is but knows he needs his father’s blessing. Jacob is pretending to be Esau to get the blessing. He is like our religious self that is still stuck in a false identity of fallen Adam. God still blesses him but his life is trapped in a false identity wearing skins just like Adam and Eve after the fall. Jacob doesn’t know who he really is until God gives him a new name…Israel.
Paul talks about our identity over and over again. He often uses the “spirit” and the “flesh” to describe our true identity as compared to the false identity. We get to discover our true identity in Jesus as we agree with what Jesus has done. We come to know what it means to be His children as we embrace His promises:
Romans 9:8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring (ESV)
It really is simple. We are made in His image. We were born from Him. God gives birth to ones like Himself. We are like Jesus because we were designed from the beginning to be like Jesus. Jesus takes our false identity and the power of that nature into the grave so we can discover who we really are. He stays joined to mankind so we will forever be joined to Him so we can discover who we really are. His presence is ever-present in His Holy Spirit so we are convicted in our discovery of who we really are. We are in a constant embrace, a Holy kiss, with the Holy Spirit so we know His love in our discovery of who we really are.
Want to know why we love those stories of discovery? They are just like us:
1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (ESV)
1 John 4:16b-18 God is love, and the man whose life is lived in love does, in fact, live in God, and God does, in fact, live in him. So our love for him grows more and more, filling us with complete confidence for the day when he shall judge all men—for we realize that our life in this world is actually his life lived in us. Love contains no fear—indeed fully-developed love expels every particle of fear, for fear always contains some of the torture of feeling guilty. This means that the man who lives in fear has not yet had his love perfected. (Phillips)
How about some more discovery. He is that good. You are that good. He did a good job.